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5 Media Tips For Small Businesses

By Brad Luna and Kristofer Eisenla of LUNA+EISENLA media

A key component of any businesses’ strategic plan should be investing and executing a media program charged with raising its profile. While word of mouth and excellent customer-service are smart ways to generate business, the public also needs to know you, your company, and the services you have available. 
Many small businesses dedicate a substantial amount of their budget on paid advertising - the purchasing of advertising space in newspapers, radio/TV, online or other forms of media such as billboards, etc.  However, earned media – publicity gained through media outreach efforts not involving paid advertising – is too often neglected.

Building an outreach program to garner the attention of and engage key media can be a powerful way for a small business to grow and expand public awareness around their services or products.  
Regardless if you are a Fortune 500 company or a small entrepreneur, here are five things every small business should remember when building a media program:

Any media program will require you to know what media is available and active in your area. This includes your local newspapers, radio and television stations, and online blogs and/or websites. Knowing this will help you craft a media program that meets your needs and goals.  

A reporter once told us, “If you want to get attention, you have to have something to say!” This is true; if you want to get coverage in your local media, you need to know what you want to say – this can range from commenting on local issues, policy initiatives or even new consumer offerings by your company. Before you engage with the media, outline your top message points around your announcement that you want to ensure is conveyed to the reporter.

When you know what you want to say and who to say it to, the next step is to figure out how to engage with them – does your local media prefer fax correspondence or do they prefer to receive news items via email or twitter? With these details, you can build a targeted media list of all the relevant media in your area. Using this media list, the first step is to reach out and introduce yourself and your company, letting the media know you are there.  Remember, as with any other aspect of your business, building long-standing, strong and trusting relationships with the media is essential.  

Do you have an announcement to make? New product or initiative? With your message points in hand, develop a press release or news announcement that contains your contact information and your message with background information on your announcement. Send the press release or news announcement out to your media list and follow-up with personal phone calls, as appropriate. While being careful not to spam the media, be regular in your announcements and engagements with them. 

Do you have a website, are you tweeting? Once your news announcements go out to the media, we suggest posting it on your website and Facebook page while also tweeting it. The majority of the public spends lots of time online looking for businesses, and you will need to play on that turf. Build a simple and clean website that includes your contact information, brief outline of the work and/or services you provide, and samples your work. Also consider using other social media platforms, from Facebook to Twitter, to help promote and advertise your business and announcements.  Your earned media efforts can be the “fuel” to help provide content for your social media and online presence.

No media program is cookie cutter; in fact, it should be unique and characteristic of the work and services you provide. Every business benefits from a true investment in a media program aimed at raising not only the visibility of their services, but the small business itself.  

While we have outlined what-to-do when it comes to the media, we thought you should also read about what-not-to-do: click here to read about PR mistakes made by entrepreneurs. 

Luna and Eisenla are the owners of LUNA+EISENLA media, a strategic media communications company aimed at tackling the leading political and policy issues of our day. You can learn more at 

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